Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
 

 

Thursday, March 23, 2006 – 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Loveland Library MP Room

 

The mission of the Larimer County Open Lands Program is to preserve and protect significant open space, natural areas, wildlife habitat, develop parks and trails for present and future generations.  These open lands provide opportunities for leisure, human renewal and protection of our natural and cultural resources.

 

 
 

 

 

 

 


Present:

Open Lands Board Members:

Brian Hayes

Mark DeGregorio

Duane Pond

Peter Kast

Sue Sparling

Bill Newman

Jean Carpenter

Bob Streeter

Lori Jeffrey-Clark

Ted Swanson

Ben Manvel

 

 

Staff

Ernst Strenge

Kerri Rollins

Meegan Flenniken

Amanda Cook

K-Lynn Cameron

Travis Rollins

Jerry White

Glenn Gibson

Charlie Johnson

Denise Kostiv

 

Absent: 

Jim White

 

 

Chair, Peter Kast called the meeting to order at 5:10 p.m.

 

Duane motioned to approve the minutes of February 23, 2006.  The motion was seconded by Jean and was unanimous.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT

No public comment

 

INFORMATION ITEMS

·  On March 14, 2006, the Larimer County Commissioners approved the amendment to the Fossil Creek Reservoir IGA which transfers management of Fossil Creek Reservoir Open Space to the City in 2010 if the City has annexed the open space.  The IGA also eliminates all financial obligations to Larimer County for development and management beginning in 2010 if annexation occurs.

·  On March 22, OLAB and the Friends Group board were treated to an Eagle's hockey game at the Ranch.  Everyone who went had a great time!

·  Site visit to preview the trail at Bobcat Ridge Natural Area is Friday, March 24 from 2:00 – 5:00 pm.  Meet at Pine Ridge Natural Area. Sue, Jean, Bob and Peter signed up.

·  The subcommittee to help plan events for the 10 Year Anniversary of the Help Preserve Open Spaces Sales Tax includes Jim White, Jean Carpenter, Sue Sparling, Merrill Kaufmann, Eric Hamrick and John Heaton.

·  The Rio Grande Mexican restaurant is hosting the 2nd Annual Small Grants Awards Ceremony and Silent Auction Fundraiser on April 7th from 6:30 - 10:00.  Entry cost is $10.  The list of auction items is now on-line for everyone to see.

·  May 5th was chosen for a site visit to Soapstone Prairie Natural Area with Fort Collins staff and their new Board.

·  The Open Lands Board and alumni of the Board's annual picnic will be held at the Blue Sky Trail on 6/3.

·  The Small Grants Committee will meet in the latter part of April to revisit the mission and criteria for the Small Grants Program.  Duane Pond will be stepping down from this subcommittee but will assist in drafting the criteria for the Program.

·  The Finance Committee will reschedule their March 20th meeting to April 17th to discuss options for management of Horsetooth Mountain Park.

·  Jerry and K-Lynn will work on guidelines for disposition of open lands, ie trading or otherwise disposing of protected properties per a request from Bob Streeter last month.  They will be bringing a draft to the April meeting.

·  Legislative updates: HB 1354, a technical adjustment to the tax credit program, is through the  House and going to the full Senate and is expected to pass.  HB 1378, which proposed taking a share of severance tax on gas and oil, was killed. SB 52, county open space tax exemption, is going to committee on 4/3.  If successful, it would allow taxes for open space programs to be taken out above the 1% cap.  A restriction in the bill specifies a management spending level of 30% or less.

 

BOARD COMMENT: None

 

PRESENTATION:

·  Environmental Overview Studies for SH 392 (Fossil Creek Reservoir and Duck Lake) and US 287 (Longview Farm) – CDOT.  Robyn Stone, Doug from CDOT were present and their consultants Brian Werle and Craig Gaskill of Carter & Burgess.  Environmental Overview Studies (EOS) to accommodate future traffic in 2030.  Conducted studies starting 1 year ago to anticipate future mobility needs to account for the environmental affects and socioeconomic impact for planning for the future.  Looking at reserve of right of way foot print needed to accommodate future volumes.  No dollars are currently set aside to acquire right of way, and NEPA process would have to be conducted before commencing on that.  Brian handed out a copy of his presentation and gave an overview of CDOT process for coordinating the EOS’s being conducted (included public process), recommended alternatives, and impacts to Larimer County’s open spaces.  It is important for OLAB to think about these proposed footprints as we move forward in planning trails etc for our open spaces.

 

Brian Hayes asked about decibel levels needed before CDOT would build walls to omit traffic sound.  Noise abatement would need to approach 66 or more decibels for residential areas then they must consider noise abatement.  It does not mean they have to do anything.  Jean asked total acreage involved for the footprint along US Hwy 287 that would impact

Longview.  They will have to get back with us for that but it will be a number of acres impacted.  Bob asked if consideration would be given to a limited access lane for through commuters.  They said that would only make it wider.  All current options have 287 at 6 lanes.  They considered Bus Rapid Transit system also and that is an option as well.  Bob asked about safety of bike lanes adjacent to traffic.  He said that bike lane is primarily used as a shoulder for breakdown cars.   

 

SH 392 presentation, PBS & J Consulting, Alan Brown and Robin Stoneman – EOS for 287 on west to Weld CO Rd 3 along Carpenter Road.  Planning, EOS, NEPA, Design and Construction is the process flow.  No funding to implement this plan is expected before 2030 or beyond.  Purpose is corridor preservation only, and when federal dollars become available then the NEPA studies would be completed before moving forward with anything.  Capacity issues are being looked at and how much right of way is needed to accommodate it. 

 

It was determined that 4 lanes of traffic will be needed west of I-25 to accommodate about 36,000 cars.  Alan showed the five alternatives being considered for the route of SH 392 around Duck Lake.  The 5 options (A, B, C, D, E) were then narrowed down to 3 (A, C, E).  See handout for more details. 

Alternative A – widens existing road to 4 lanes

Alternative C – goes south of Duck Lake and back to Carpenter Rd, but close to the lake; modified C goes south of the lake and out to Timberline Rd.

Alternative E – goes widely around Duck Lake to the south

 

All options have some impact to section 4F properties.  Options C & E impact the South Fort Collins Sanitation District properties and affect their uses of the land.  E has smallest impact to wetlands and section 4F lands, however E is the longest reroute of traffic.  Section 4F lands (lands that are considered parks or open space that have an adopted management plan that allows for public access or future public access on the property) are protected by the federal government from eminent domain unless there are no other reasonable and prudent alternatives (i.e economics, unreasonable impacts to other properties, use technology to minimize impacts such as bridges, etc). 

 

If alternative A was not chosen, then the existing road would be deconstructed and reclaimed.  Looking at acres of conservation easements effected, option A is only .6 acres while C & E are more.  Unless they get a strong preference from the local jurisdictions they will move forward with all alternatives.  Consensus from OLAB was that they liked the modified C alternative the best.

 

Final EOS report is coming out in the Spring, then an MOU will be implemented with participating agencies for the EOS to be implemented by their planning departments to start setting aside right of way.  Glenn commented that he anticipates an RTA fund (Rural Transportation) being on the ballot in the next five years.  This would be an alternative to federal funds.


 

·  2005 Parks and Open Lands Visitor Management Summary, Blue Mountain District – Travis Rollins, Park Manager, Amanda Cook and Denise Kostiv, rangers. 

Amanda reviewed the use of volunteers on the open spaces, including workenders, trailhead hosts (primarily Diamond Peaks Mountain Biking) and trail maintenance (taken on primarily by mountain bike and horse groups).  Additionally, a field intern was hired to help.

 

Denise reviewed particular areas they patrol.  They patrol about 15 miles of trail.  Devil's Backbone is experiencing issues of carrying capacity in the parking area, social trails.    Ramsay-Shockey is not as busy but frequented by campers and fishermen.  Fossil Creek is working on habitat improvement, building bird boxes, osprey nest sites, etc. 

 

Travis said they continue to lead the Northern Colorado Ranger Training Program for COSA.  This year they had 18-20 rangers from Larimer County, Fort Collins, Longmont, Pitkin County rangers.    The rangers worked on many certifications this year. 

 

Travis handed out a summary of raptor monitoring on our open spaces.  Wildlife sited include peregrine falcon and possible nesting prairie falcons on our open spaces as well as a flock of wild turkeys, bald eagles, bobcats and white pelicans.  They continue raptor monitoring at all properties using volunteers.  Travis reviewed the highlights of the monitoring report.

 

Visitation surveys taken show that the Devil's Backbone has close to 60,000 visitors per year and  37,000 at Fossil Creek.  This estimation assumes 2.5 people per vehicle.  Walk-in and bike-in traffic are not counted in the survey.

 

ACTION:

·  Round Butte Conservation Easement Final Review.

Jerry reviewed the information in the handout and the discussions from last months OLAB meeting when John Stokes, Director of Fort Collins Natural Resources Department, was present.  A conservation easement of 1,360 acres at Round Butte, located in the Laramie Foothills adjacent to Soapstone, would be temporarily held by Larimer County until the City of Fort Collins finds a conservation buyer for the residual land.   The easement will be acquired in two phases (Phase I is 640 acres and Phase II is 720 acres).  Since GOCO dollars helped purchase the property, a third party easement holder.  Bob said we should ask the City to follow through on reserving recreation corridors on these easement acquisitions.

Bob motioned to recommend to the Board of County Commissioners to temporarily hold an easement on 1,360 acres of Round Butte as discussed above.  Sue seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

·  Accessibility Guidelines.

Ernst reviewed the enclosure in the packet.  He said Vick Bebee, a member of the City of Loveland's Disability Advisory Board reviewed the guidelines and thought they looked good.

Bob motioned to recommend to the Director of Parks and Open Lands to approve the guidelines as written.  Jean second and the motion passed unanimously.

 


 

DISCUSSION:

·  2006 Open Lands Program Work Plan.  Board members reviewed the work plan received at the February meeting for discussion at this meeting.  K-Lynn noted that she added the request made by Bob to develop guidelines for disposition of open lands, ie trading or otherwise disposing of protected properties.  No additional comments were made.  Jean volunteered to work with Ann on the teacher licensure on Wet, Wild, and Learning Tree.  She is a certified instructor.  She recommend Ann be certified.

 

DIRECTOR:  There was no Director's Report as Gary was not present at this meeting. 

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION:  (24-6-402(4) (a)C.R.S. Purchase, acquisition, lease, transfer or sale of any real or personal property interest. There was no executive session for this meeting. 

 

 

The meeting was adjourned by a motion from Duane.  The motion was seconded by Bob and carried unanimously.  The meeting was adjourned at 7:34 p.m.

 

Background Image: Rocky Mountain National Park by Sue Burke. All rights reserved.